Written for and popularized by the 1974 studio album “Natty Dread,” “No Woman, No Cry” by Bob Marley & The Wailers is a reggae classic.
Pianist Monty Alexander takes the reggae anthem in a jazz direction with beautiful results.
Like singer-guitarist Marley, pianist Alexander was born in Jamaica.
He started on the piano at four, started formal classical music lessons at six and discovered jazz as a young teenager.
Seeing performances at the Carib Theater in Jamaica by artists like Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole flamed his passion for the music. His first major venture as a musician was directing a dance orchestra (Monty and the Cyclones) that played in local Kingston, Jamaica clubs.
At 17 his family moved to Miami, Florida and a year later at 18 he was playing at Jilly Rizzo's jazz club Jilly's. There he performed with Frank Sinatra and met bassist Ray Brown and vibist Milt Jackson. His first album Alexander the Great recorded for Pacific Jazz came out when he was 20.
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